Written by Ranen Chan
Edited by Eunice Tan
With lockdowns in place in many countries, some of us may find ourselves thinking and reflecting more with the extra time we have on our hands. As a pretty extroverted (or extraverted) person, introspection was not something I did very often. Only after an incident where I hurt someone close to me did I do some hard thinking.
I had always thought of myself as a pretty decent, nice guy. Sure, I had my flaws, but overall, I thought I wasn’t too bad. I did my work, helped out around the house, and treated people well.
Turns out I was wrong.
I realised that I had placed disproportionate value in the opinions of others. I cared too much about how they viewed me and what they thought of me. I ended up trading my friendship up for their opinions. I had never thought of myself as insecure, but I suppose I was in a way. I wanted the approval and acceptance of those around me. It is a very human desire, but not something that should be placed above our values.
I don’t deny that some people may be struggling with self-esteem issues, but that was not the situation with me. Instead, it was a case of self-centeredness: worrying that others would have a low opinion of me, when the friend in question had not done anything wrong. This was further exacerbated by my (terrible) tendency to avoid conflict and awkward situations.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take care to maintain a good reputation when you can. King Solomon writes, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.” I’m simply saying that you should not prioritise others’ perception of you over the values that you hold or the relationships you have. Our identity is founded in Christ alone. We are children of God. We are who He says we are, not what the world says we are.